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12 weeks – ‘Use it to Lose it’ Challenge

12 weeks – ‘Use it to Lose it’ Challenge

I am re-sharing this post from last year, with minor edits for us to take on this challenge again. Yay girls, let’s do this.

Thank you for joining me in my journey. Again, just to remind you all, I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist.  This is not a diet nor a weight loss programme. I will simply share what worked for me and what I intend to do, to reclaim health, re-tune my habits/lifestyle, and in turn lose the excess fat and get fit again. This is intended to support those who need that first step to jump start the change, and to also support each other during the next 12 weeks. 

Join our group, click here>>>> Use it to Lose it with Raga (a closed door group only for women.

Do remember,  we all are at different stages in our lives – so although we are embarking on this part of our journey together, there are many factors that will determine the results.  So, no comparing. No cheating. No excuses. We will do it our way. I hope we all stay the course and make this work – whatever our individual goal. 

One thing works universally for all – commitment. That is the key. It wont’ be easy, but it won’t be hard either. We will focus on re-tuning our thinking, making better food choices, adding activity to our daily lives and supporting each other to stay motivated. 

Key is to work together and keep each other motivated, positively. 

STOP THE EXCUSES PLEASE (This applies to me too) :

I AM TOO OLD: I was 42 when I first lost nearly 30 kilos and beat diabetes, liver diseases, kidney ailments and host of other imbalances my poor lifestyle had created. I did it through pure commitment. I found my age to be a major strength. My commitment levels are much stronger now. 

I RUN AROUND ALL DAY AND YET I GAIN WEIGHT: Well, true, but that is not exercise love. Don’t assume or be in denial about activity. Set time aside each day for exercise in any form you are able to. For those with sedentary lifestyles, this is an absolute must.  For those with active lifestyles, change the routine, push harder. 

I HARDLY EAT ANYTHING: You do love, you do.  There are some of us who have a regular high calorie, high fat diet. Some of us eat small meals, but snack a lot in-between meals, whereas some prefer smaller meals but will eat large portions of dessert. That’s how we get fat.It doesn’t just happen.  Can we stop being in denial and don’t let yourself fall into a trap of ‘denial’. Remember, every morsel counts – stop yourself from eating that last piece of pizza, toast, snack from your kids, partners plate. 

IT’S NOW ABOUT THE WEIGHT, IT IS ABOUT THE FAT: Let’s stop dwelling on this whole weight loss nonsense. Let’s focus on shedding that fat, losing those extra inches. We don’t all need to have amazing gym bodies. We need to have less fat in our bodies so we can be healthy and stay alive fully. Not on meds, not on insulin. But stay high on life. 

WHAT WORKED FOR ME:

1.Re-tune the way I thought about food.  We are not scrap yards – so why eat junk food? Seriously, as much as we love our fast food, there are better options available. I will avoid white bread, rice, noodles, pasta (unless whole wheat), sugar, dessert, carbs and sweets are out for me. 

2.Eat 6 small meals per day: I divide my day into 6 blocks: Morning, Mid morning, Afternoon, Mid afternoon, Evening and Night and plan my meals accordingly. I eat frequently but make healthy choices. For snacks its mostly nuts, fruit, raisins, dry fruit. I do not indulge in cereal bars or anything that is processed – it has high sugar content that has its own impact. 

2. Make small changes: 

  • Did you know plates can have a huge role in our food portions? for instance, using a smaller plate helps with portion size (even if you fill it up, it is better than filling up a large plate with food), research shows that using coloured plates verses white plates can help with portion sizes. Avoid second helpings.
  • Diet coke? Aerated drinks/Energy drinks: These are all excess sugar we don’t need. Junk it. Drink plenty of water (nimbu pani). During my own journey I used to drink 10-12 glasses a day. Helps with detox, makes you less hungry and is extremely useful for digestion.
  • Plan weekly menu :I will plan my menu a week in advance, so I have no excuse to eat junk.
  • Maintain a Food/Drink/Activity Diary: I joined MFT (www.myfitnesspal.com) a free online diary to log in my food/drinks/activity and manage my calorie intake. You can find me there. My online name is ‘Raaless’. Happy to help you online when you log in as well.
  • Add Walk walk walk to your day:  I bought myself a pedometer (fitbit) and ensured that I measured number of steps. I started with 5000 steps a day, and slowly built it to 12k-15k a day. It is a great game you can play with yourself. It will come as a surprise to many how little we walk each day, and how much fun it can be to track steps.
  • Love yourself: Learning to love myself was most important. We forget the most important person in our lives – and that is ourselves. Less stressing about things, finding time to do little things for myself – sleeping better (8 hours atleast ) and not worrying about every thing in life. All that is so critical as well.

My story so far: 

“A Ticking Time Bomb”.

That was the blunt description given the mounting problem of Type 2 Diabetes within the South Asian Diaspora community in the United Kingdom a few years ago.

According to research, immigrants to the UK from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other nations from South Asia are six times more likely than the indigenous white population to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

Whilst current evidence is inconclusive as to why British Asians are more susceptible to the disorder, medical experts have pointed to the twin evils of a diet high in carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids (all those chapattis and rice dishes) as well as alarmingly low levels of physical activity, especially among older South Asian women, as two of the most significant contributory factors to a problem that is certain to put a huge burden on families and the community at large.

Alarmingly, there is widespread ignorance about Type 2 Diabetes within the community, according to medical experts, which threatens the lives of thousands.

Mumbai-born, with ten amazing years in New Zealand, now North London-based marketing and advertising expert Raga D’silva was among those ignorant masses.

The 45-year-old mother of twins, whose family had a history of Diabetes, was diagnosed with this illness in 2012. The news brought about a radical change in Raga and has inspired her to help others with Diabetes and raise awareness. 

Raga is the Asian Ambassador for Diabetes UK.

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It Hurts so Good.

It Hurts so Good.

Before forcing myself to get back to the gym this week, I wasn’t exactly what one would call “in shape.” Having just returned from a a hiatus over Christmas that extended until the end of winter, I’d acquired four months of bread/snacks/ couch potato weight and was feeling generally lethargic. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Exercise, Nicola Fenton

 

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The Magic of Weight loss


You have no  idea, how many people I meet, talk to , communicate with, tell me how lucky I am to lose this weight.  I smile and thank them all for their kind words. But seriously, in my head I think “lucky my ass”. If hard work is luck, then yes, I am very lucky.  It almost feels as if people believe that those like me who lose weight, are illusionists.  They eat some magic potions, and behold one day, wake up smaller, just as one day they woke up fat.Unfortunately, luck has nothing to do with weight loss. Just as it had nothing to do with weight gain. Laziness plays a big role in gaining weight (of course there are those who are afflicted by very painful illnesses and just cannot exercise), we start calling it ‘lifestyle’ issues.  Hard work plays a major role in losing it, simply!

It’s pure science though. Nothing to do with magic.I was eating way too much. I discovered when I started logging my food. I would honestly think I wasn’t eating much. My meal portions were really small.  One piece of bread (roti bread), or a small portion of rice, with simple lentils and salad was my regular meal.  Honestly, that was it. Then  how did I gain the weight?What I did not account for was all that I ate in-between my very small portions – the two biscuits I dunked into my coffee each morning, the post breakfast snack at the office, the post lunch snack, the potato chips pre dinner, the couple of whiskeys with tandoori chicken, and then the yummy ice cream, or chocolate that followed my very small dinner.  Oh, and if I felt very happy that night, and if I was distracted some exciting ‘food’ show on television (thank you Masterchef), I would inadvertently get at least 2 slices of bread pan toasted with enough butter for a week.

In my mind, I was eating about 1200 calories a day, which is the recommended calorie intake for women my age.  However, when I did finally log in my food intake on http://www.myfitnesspal.com (a free tool to log in food, drink and exercise) I was beyond shocked!!! I was eating for at least 2 women, and some days for three.  No wonder I was the size of a house (a proper 3-bedroom one at that -:))

To lose weight, I realised all I had to do is simply eat for one person. Eat right kind of food. You cannot eat for one person, and eat a horse. You got to eat right.  Decide your meals for next day a day in advance. Plan, plan, plan.  Most of us don’t know how many calories we intake in each meal. Use free tools such as http://www.myfitnesspal.com.
Divide your meals into
– breakfast
– morning snack
– lunch
– afternoon snack
– evening meal

When I started eating right, some days I struggled with even consuming 1200 calories a day. When I was eating ‘whatever’ came my way – I was eating upto 4000-5000 calories a day.

It’s simple science. None of us really need to get into specifics of that. What we need to simply remember is consuming our recommended calorie intake every day, exercising every day (any form of exercise is fine) and leading a good lifestyle (drinking plenty of water, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep). Staying HAPPY is very critical. I learnt that I am an emotional eater.  I eat when I feel low. Now I substitute that with exercise, reading and simply annoying others 🙂

Bring the magic to your lives – eat well, exercise! Don’t be secret eaters, as I was.

Let’s not pretend that our weight is just coming on its own. Let’s take ownership, so we can change it, so we can get healthier. 

I challenge you to log in your food today on http://www.myfitnesspal.com. Log in every morsel, every drink, coke, pepsi, sprite, every thing…and then check how many calories you actually take in. Then calculate how many calories you really burn each day. The answers will come. It’s simple science. Not magic.  But losing weight can be magical, as I have found out! 

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Diabetes, Diet, Motivation

 

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No Time for Exercise ? Try This

Please follow my Facebookpage

My blog is not about losing weight. It is about re-gaining health. I am a middle-aged woman, with a full-on life. I lost control for a while, gained huge amount of weight in a very short span, and got very ill.  I was told I couldn’t live much longer if I did not do something about it. The starting point for me was to lose the excess weight. It was not easy. It was not hard either. It was just about making a decision and taking action. I decided to take one day at a time. Every day, I focussed on that one day. And slowly, things changed. I lost the weight. I re-gained my health. My diabetes went into remission. I no longer suffer from hypertension. My liver is fine. The stone in my gall bladder is getting smaller. Is it a “miracle” as we would like to believe? No. It is simply, about making a decision and taking action, and sticking with it, every day.

One common phrase I have heard over and over again, “You are so lucky, you can exercise, I have no time to exercise”!

Seriously, one thing we all have in common is the 24 hours we get. What we do with those 24 hours each day, is what makes us different.

Make the decision and take action:

I have been there — making hundreds of excuses for not being able to exercise> some of my common excuses were:

  • No time – long days, and longer nights of work !
  • Travel – as you all know, I travel atleast 10-15 days a month
  • Children – Two teenagers is a full-time job plus more…
  • Social life – late nights can be tiring … with all that eating, and drinking!
  • Unpredictable life – I have to travel at short notice at times
  • Over 40 – My life is now about my children, so why bother!
  • Why put the effort – Exercise does take effort.
  • What will people think – Oh, I thought the whole world was watching 🙂
All of the above is totally true, and has not changed, honestly. But, I decided to work with it.  So, I make use of what I have, with the time I have.
Just simple things to do at home. Remember, every little thing does count, as my trainer once told me, “everything is CBO” (Calorie Burning Opportunity).  Ten calories here, and ten calories there…it all adds up. And it’s fun!!!
  • Buckets: Oh, that’s the best. I use half filled buckets (soaked with whites) to lift. helps with building my core, and also my arms.
  • kichen bench for push ups – while cooking, waiting for the pot to boil…
  • More ways to use the chair – I do planks, tricep bench dips. I sit on the chair at times, and do stomach crunches.
  • Stairs: Apart from using the stairs to go up and down, I use them to do push ups. I do about 50 odd a day.  Just because I can!
  • Children : If you have young children, carry them around! Amazing calorie burners.
I am still a few kilos away from my goal. But my goal is not about my weight. I want to stay well, healthy and alive.  I have a lifetime ahead of me, after all.

Feel free to comment on this, share with anyone needing encouragement. Remember, every little does count.  Follow me on Facebook
 
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Diabetes, Diet, Motivation

 

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Six Simple Steps to Dropping 4 sizes in 6 Months



For me it was never about dropping sizes, it was simply about regaining my health. But dropping sizes has sure helped! From size 21 to a size 12 in a short time sure brought a smile to my face!
New Year resolutions and all — I have had a few people message me asking me for support in their own journeys. I thought it may be an opportune time to just give 6 simple steps to losing that waist size … and regaining whatever it is one is seeking….

Step one: 
Track What you put into your body


Managing your intake (food, beverages)
log on to www.myfitnesspal.com.

It is website to track calories. (Don’t worry about what others say about counting calories……for the time being simply do it). It’s free. It’s polices your intake, without anyone else knowing about it. It’s yours, it’s private. EVERY morsel that you intake, you add in there, so you know how many calories you eat every day. For average women over 25 yrs , they can about 1200-1500 calls should be enough (including the beverages we consume).

I would constantly say ‘I don’t each much” until I started tracking the calorie intake. I was in for a rude shock. I was eating food equivalent for 3 women every day. You will be shocked how much we actually eat – little morsels, little extras here and there all add up.

Step two
Start walking – Start moving your body: Not just from the bedroom to the refrigerator please.

Start walking….with 20 mins, then build it to 30 mins a day at a steady pace. Slowly keep increasing the time. Increase the intensity.

Join the gym and start doing some strength training, all the better….

Step three:
Sleep well. Try and get at least 8 hours of sleep…every night please (not every week!)

Sleep is so under valued, but is the most necessary for all of us. A well rested body can do much more — requires less food, has more energy to do things …..





Step four:

Think positive. Surround yourself with positive people. Not those who suck the energy out of you.

Most of us, rush to the refrigerator when we feel low. Try and be happy, (life is full of ups and downs and it is not easy) so surround yourself with positive people. This is very critical.

Not those positive types who need to eat and drink to feel positive – if you know what I mean.

Step five:
Educate yourself about food and nutrition

If you are reading this, chances are you have access to internet and the information world. The best thing  one can do as we go on this journey of lifestyle change, is to educate ourselves about food and nutrition. Learn to read labels at supermarkets or when you buy groceries. Make sensible decisions. Just because it is commercialised, it doesn’t mean it is good for you.

For example: (a detailed blog on this to follow)
stay away from sugar substitutes.
stay away from ‘diet’ drinks
stop buying processed food (and convenient foods)
eat simple food but home cooked.
low fat is not necessarily fat free or good

Step six:
Keep loving yourself


Keep loving yourself…..I have to remind myself every day that I am the most important person in my life. My happy self brings in happy energy around me…and to me spreading happy energy is what keeps me going.

Keep a log…you will start noticing small changes initially. Until in about 3 months, you will start receiving compliments as others will notice it as well…!!!Take plenty of pictures…I swear I have loved seeing my “before and after” .. it’s an amazing feeling to see the progress one has made and how we can change things if and when we take control.

With love and best wishes to all….Keep walking…keep logging…keep loving….keep happy…stay beautiful (inside and out) xxxx

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Diabetes, Diet, Motivation

 

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Quote

So what if you are 40! No more excuses. Get off your ass and move!

So what if you …

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Motivation

 

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One July Morning

 

 

That July morning, when I woke up to a different day – when I saw darkness around me in many forms, was the lowest day of my life. The symptoms were painful. I got myself to a doctor, series of tests…all suggesting I had severe Type 2 diabetes, huge stone in my gall bladder, hypertension amongst other ailments, all due to obesity.

Time stood still. But more than that, life stood still. 

I had no idea of Diabetes except that I had lost a few family members, who lost their limbs first before they passed on. And at very young age. I had a history of diabetes in my family. I felt I had no chance.  My doctor suggested getting the gall bladder out. But, he wouldn’t operate (or just couldn’t) on me as I had severe diabetes, which meant the chances of infection was very high and so was the healing time. I was scared inside to undergo surgery as I had no fall back option for my young twins if something were to happen to me. Those were dark days.  Long days and longer nights.  I felt alone. Miserable. Lost. 

 
Other than the diagnoses, I hated the feeling I had within. I felt extremely unwell. For the first time ever, I felt I couldn’t go on with life. I needed to end it all and start again.People who know me are shocked that I was going through all that — I just did not show it to anyone. It is common, amongst us women. We simply pretend all is well to the world, when inside we are crumbling.
 
It’s then I got off my ass and decided to give it a try. To start all over again without ending anything. I made the decision to get off my arse.  And GetOffMyAss I did!

I decided to take charge of my life…

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Diabetes, Diet, Motivation

 

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No Time for Exercise ? Try This

No time for exercise? Try this…!!

Please follow my Facebookpage

My blog is not about losing weight. It is about re-gaining health. I am a middle-aged woman, with a full-on life. I lost control for a while, gained huge amount of weight in a very short span, and got very ill.  I was told I couldn’t live much longer if I did not do something about it. The starting point for me was to lose the excess weight. It was not easy. It was not hard either. It was just about making a decision and taking action. I decided to take one day at a time. Every day, I focussed on that one day. And slowly, things changed. I lost the weight. I re-gained my health. My diabetes went into remission. I no longer suffer from hypertension. My liver is fine. The stone in my gall bladder is getting smaller. Is it a “miracle” as we would like to believe? No. It is simply, about making a decision and taking action, and sticking with it, every day.

One common phrase I have heard over and over again, “You are so lucky, you can exercise, I have no time to exercise”!

Seriously, one thing we all have in common is the 24 hours we get. What we do with those 24 hours each day, is what makes us different.

Make the decision and take action:

I have been there — making hundreds of excuses for not being able to exercise> some of my common excuses were:

  • No time – long days, and longer nights of work !
  • Travel – as you all know, I travel atleast 10-15 days a month
  • Children – Two teenagers is a full-time job plus more…
  • Social life – late nights can be tiring … with all that eating, and drinking!
  • Unpredictable life – I have to travel at short notice at times
  • Over 40 – My life is now about my children, so why bother!
  • Why put the effort – Exercise does take effort.
  • What will people think – Oh, I thought the whole world was watching 🙂
All of the above is totally true, and has not changed, honestly. But, I decided to work with it.  So, I make use of what I have, with the time I have.
Just simple things to do at home. Remember, every little thing does count, as my trainer once told me, “everything is CBO” (Calorie Burning Opportunity).  Ten calories here, and ten calories there…it all adds up. And it’s fun!!!
  • Buckets: Oh, that’s the best. I use half filled buckets (soaked with whites) to lift. helps with building my core, and also my arms.
  • kichen bench for push ups – while cooking, waiting for the pot to boil…
  • More ways to use the chair – I do planks, tricep bench dips. I sit on the chair at times, and do stomach crunches.
  • Stairs: Apart from using the stairs to go up and down, I use them to do push ups. I do about 50 odd a day.  Just because I can!
  • Children : If you have young children, carry them around! Amazing calorie burners.
I am still a few kilos away from my goal. But my goal is not about my weight. I want to stay well, healthy and alive.  I have a lifetime ahead of me, after all.

Feel free to comment on this, share with anyone needing encouragement. Remember, every little does count.  Follow me on Facebook
 
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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Diabetes, Diet, Motivation

 

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